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Republicans Win Two Texas Mayoral Races, Including One in McAllen, Which is 85 Percent Hispanic

Republicans in Texas celebrated on Monday after winning two closely watched mayoral elections in the state on Saturday, taking control of cities in Democratic counties.

The party was particularly buoyed by its performance in McAllen, a border city of 143,000 that is 85 percent Hispanic, where Javier Villalobos, a former chairman of the local Republican Party, defeated a candidate backed by local Democrats by 206 votes out of 9,282 cast.

Texas Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, hailed Mr. Villalobos’s victory as part of a larger political realignment of Hispanic voters that revealed itself in the 2020 election, when President Biden drastically underperformed against expectations, and previous Democratic margins, in several Texas border counties with large numbers of Hispanic voters.

Mr. Biden won Hidalgo County, which includes McAllen, by 17 percentage points. Four years earlier, Hillary Clinton carried the county by 40 points.

Mr. Villalobos, a local lawyer who is a city commissioner, celebrated his victory by riding a bicycle built for two with Jim Darling, McAllen’s departing mayor. Mr. Darling did not seek re-election after eight years in office.

In Fort Worth, Democrats had hoped Deborah Peoples, a former Tarrant County Democratic Party chairwoman, could win an open-seat mayoral race. Ms. Peoples had endorsements from Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro, high-profile Texas Democrats who ran for president in 2020.

But Ms. Peoples lost to Mattie Parker, a former chief of staff to Fort Worth’s departing mayor, retaining Republican control of the largest city in Tarrant County, which flipped to Mr. Biden in 2020 after decades of backing Republican presidential candidates.

Though both municipal contests were officially nonpartisan, Ms. Parker and Mr. Villalobos each identified as Republicans while their defeated opponents said they were Democrats.

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